|Flickr: Chris and Jenni|
I also played at being an anti-war protester during my adolescence. I loved Hair, so I'd wear tie-dyed T-shirts and sandals and say things like "peace." But it's easy to protest the Vietnam War when the Vietnam is over. I read Hemingway and All Quiet on the Western Front and the poetry of Wilfred Owen. During the 1990s, there was even talk amongst rational adults about the End of History and a bit of contempt directed towards college students who got a 'free' education because they were members of ROTC. Because with the USSR gone, there would never be real war, ever again.
For some of my friends and their families, of course, war is not an academic, theoretical, or literary subject. It's about absence--the absence of someone they love who is deployed and at risk. And Memorial Day is, of course, about the ultimate kind of absence.
I know some people find food blogs trivial and decadent and flinch when people post recipes for flag cakes on Memorial Day.
From what I've read of people who have served, though, many have dreamed of favorite foods when hungry, lost, and alone.
No recipe today, though. I'm not really sure what would be the right thing to make since the subject brings up so many contradictions--I hate war, yet I'm not an utter pacifist because I think it is necessary to prepare for war to preserve peace. I hate the utter annihilation of identity that fighting for a nation or an ideal implies, yet I've loved many books and poetry inspired by the individual souls who have lived through war...and most importantly, I am utterly awed by the sacrifice of those who give up their lives in the name of something larger than the self, whether they fought in a 'good' war--or not. I don't find war glorious, noble, or admirable, yet I have met many people have embodied those qualities while wearing a uniform.
Today is about absence, but I don't want to leave you with an image of absence. Instead, think about a kind of absence that creates some sense of presence...the hole that makes the doughnut...